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Stone carving and tools – the basics

21/11/2010

Returning to stone carving. I know there are many people who are afraid of the process of carving, thinking it must be too hard, too difficult. It is not. Like all skills it takes time and patience to acquire (and you are always learning), but first and foremost it requires the proper use of the proper tools.

The first essential is the dummy or hammer. This is unlike a stone carver’s hammer, being shaped like an inverted cone, the weight at the head, and the lead on a shaft of ash.

This dummy, as it is called, has a wonderful weight and action. The advantage of the curved /circular shape is that you can strike the head of the chisel with any surface.

My dummy was bought from Tiranti’s in central London and it will outlive me. There are places in the US and Australia which can also supply the equipment, including the tungsten tipped lettering chisels you will need.

These are much finer and sharper than ordinary chisels, and need to be carefully sharpened on a diamond stone.

Carving is usually performed standing at an easel – a stout frame made of timber and angled. Sometimes, because of the size of the stone or for other reasons carving may be done in a different manner, but this first method is much preferred. Light needs to come from the left of course, assuming you are right handed.

I hope in due course to provide a video should there be enough interest. Please let me know.

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